15
Jun
09

Calvinism is not a common grocery clerk’s Christianity

Deuteronomy 8:2 (American Standard Version)

 2 And thou shalt remember all the way which Jehovah thy God hath led thee these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble thee, to prove thee, to know what was in thy heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or not.

When it comes to high-Calvinism, one does not necessarily have to be a university graduate of chemistry, finance or law but it helps. Why must the subject of election, predestination and free will be contentious and divisive?  In order to effectively deal with this issue, we must move outside of the Scriptures.  To a certain degree, we must rely on the human skills of reason and philosophical logic.  Those unacquainted with apologetics will lack the intellectual resources necessary to understand the implications of one position over another.  Contrary to what the Calvinist’s may assert, the Scriptures fail to give us all that we need to know in regard to resolving the conflict.

Calvinism must have its interpreters, those with special spiritual insights, intellectual skills and masteries in Hebrew and Greek. The ordinary person must rely on those who have gone before him. You must have Augustine, Calvin, Beza, Edwards and Piper. There is simply no striking out on one’s own. This is why Calvinism has been called, The Puritan Gnosticism.

If you have thrown your lot in with high-sovereignty, then you have just gone on to a very small island and burned all of the bridges.

Roman Catholicism has the same with its Magisterium (interpretors of scripture and tradition) and in one sense the Bible still remains chained to one of the columns in St. Peter’s Basilica. You can read the Bible for yourself but God forbid you trying to figure it out on your own. For this work you need the august body of discipherers. Words and syntax that you have always understood no longer have the same meaning or structures as before. I invite the reader to familiarize himself  or herself with the Roman Catholic explanation of John 6:48-58 to see what I mean.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses have a similar arrangement in Brooklyn, New York. Read the Bible (their Bible , of course) all you like but if you want to understand it correctly, you’ll need the Watchtower.

The Mormon’s will commend the Bible as long as it is, “correctly interpreted.”

Muslim’s care not a straw what the Bible says if Mohammed, the Koran or the Imam says something different.

The question ought to be asked, “Should anyone take the Bible at face value or do we really need hair-splitting specialists explaining to us that it says something more complex than what it appears to plainly say?”

No doubt there could be different understandings of some of these texts, but there is simply no reason why Calvinists, or anyone else for that matter, should assume that the “Reformed” have the only correct, orthodox rendering. Do they have special revelation? To trust commentary (interpreters) more than the text is a challenge  to inerrancy. Anyone who is familiar with the Schofield Bible should be leery of the MacArthur, Ryrie and now the ESV Study Bible. Seminary and Ph.D’s are no guarantee of doctrinal soundness. A Ph.D does not tell us how smart or spiritual a person is it only tells us how long they have been in school.

Scriptural references which indicate the universal call of God to ALL men are too numerous to itemize in detail.

Here is but a small sampling….

1 John 2:2

2 and he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.

Isaiah 53:6

6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Matthew 26:13

13 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, that also which this woman hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

Matthew 28:18-20

18 And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth.

19 Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:

20 teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.

John 1:9

9 There was the true light, even the light which lighteth every man, coming into the world.

John 1:29

29 On the morrow he seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world!

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

John 3:17-19

17 For God sent not the Son into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through him.

18 He that believeth on him is not judged: he that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God.

19 And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil.

Romans 10:13

13 for, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Acts 10:34

34 And Peter opened his mouth and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

Biblical statements regarding personal choice are also well represented.

Deuteronomy 11:26-28

26 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse:

27 the blessing, if ye shall hearken unto the commandments of Jehovah your God, which I command you this day;

28 and the curse, if ye shall not hearken unto the commandments of Jehovah your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.

Jeremiah 21:8

8 And unto this people thou shalt say, Thus saith Jehovah: Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death.

Deuteronomy 30:19

19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse: therefore choose life, that thou mayest live, thou and thy seed;

Isaiah 55:6

6 Seek ye Jehovah while he may be found; call ye upon him while he is near:

Proverbs 1:24-27

24 Because I have called, and ye have refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man hath regarded;

25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, And would none of my reproof:

26 I also will laugh in the day of your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;

27 When your fear cometh as a storm, And your calamity cometh on as a whirlwind; When distress and anguish come upon you.

Isaiah 55:7

7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto Jehovah, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Matthew 5:6

6 Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Matthew 11:28

28 Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 23:37

37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her! how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

Jeremiah 29:13

13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

Matthew 22:9-10

9 Go ye therefore unto the partings of the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage feast.

10 And those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was filled with guests.

John 6:37

37 All that which the Father giveth me shall come unto me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

James 4:8

8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded.

Ephesians 2:8-9

8 for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

9 not of works, that no man should glory.

From Genesis and the call of Adam, “Where art thou?” through Revelation and the call of “the Spirit and the Bride say, Come…” the Bible can best be understood as an invitation to a wedding feast that culminates in The Marriage Supper of the Lamb. When Jesus commands us to go into the hedgeways and “COMPEL them to come in, “ he means what he says. The word COMPEL is very strong meaning, necessitate, urge, persuade.

Not enough? See “Not Enough… More Scriptures Please.”

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3 Responses to “Calvinism is not a common grocery clerk’s Christianity”


  1. November 30, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Tony,

    After reading this article it is very clear you either do not understand what the doctrines of grace actually teach or you are misrepresenting reformed theology on purpose. I would like to respond to some of your comments. However I want it to be clear up front this is not meant as a personal attack on you but rather the theology and misrepresentations I find in this post.

    You said

    “Calvinism must have its interpreters, those with special spiritual insights, intellectual skills and masteries in Hebrew and Greek. The ordinary person must rely on those who have gone before him. You must have Augustine, Calvin, Beza, Edwards and Piper. There is simply no striking out on one’s own. This is why Calvinism has been called, The Puritan Gnosticism.”

    So you are going to fault those who have actually dedicated their lives to studying the issues and the languages? Secondly you bring up Calvin, etc…So I guess Arminians do not have a theological system and those in the past to which they glean from? I am sure you would have everyone believe that Arminians “just read the Bible” and the Calvinists get their theology from Calvin. This is simply not intellectually honest. Whether a monergist or synergist both views rely on certain theological assumptions as will be shown.

    After using Islam, JWs and Mormon as a comparison you made the following statement

    “The question ought to be asked, “Should anyone take the Bible at face value or do we really need hair-splitting specialists explaining to us that it says something more complex than what it appears to plainly say?”

    First, you talk as though there are no scriptures that would ever lead someone to Calvinism unless they have a guru there to lead them to it. This is absurd and you know it. How many people have left Calvary Chapel IN DROVES to the reformed camp because they followed the advice of Chuck Smith and read their Bible. All one need to do is actually read the Bible and it is very EASY to see how reformed theology is all over the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. Here is an article correctly explaining the 5 points with some scriptures to support it
    http://www.monergism.com/directory/link_category/Doctrines-of-Grace/The-Five-Points-of-Calvinism/

    Again whether one believes it is not the issue. I am taking issue with your claim that one would need a guru to interpret the scriptures for one to see any reformed understanding. This is BOGUS and we both know it. I have read several of your posts on Calvinism and they are filled with anger, straw-men and hatred of anything reformed. Are you wanting to actually move the discussion along or get up on a soapbox and rant about how much you hate reformed theology all the while misrepresenting it and being uncharitable to those who hold the view?

    You then say

    “No doubt there could be different understandings of some of these texts, but there is simply no reason why Calvinists, or anyone else for that matter, should assume that the “Reformed” have the only correct, orthodox rendering. Do they have special revelation?”

    Amazing to hear you say this after you just get done comparing Calvinists with Islam, Mormonism, etc. As a Calvinist I realize there are some good arguments on both sides which why I do not go after my Arminian brothers. You however seem to make it a hobby to see how insulting and uncharitable you can be to your brothers and sisters in Christ who hold to the reformed view. Why is that Tony? Do you really believe this post and your others on Calvinism displays the fruit of the Spirit??????

    Now I want to look at all the verses that you think “obviously” demonstrate reformed theology is false and not found in scripture. Lets go one by one.

    I will post the verse and then respond

    1 John 2:2 ” and he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.”

    Have you not read the numerous responses to this verse by the reformed community?

    Here is an excerpt with an article linked that explains this passage and as can be shown it is not nearly as “obvious” as you would lead people into thinking.

    “The whole world” means “people of all kinds, including Jews, Gentiles, Greeks, Romans, and whatnot” as opposed to “ours only” i.e., the Jewish nation. What the apostle John is saying in the John 11 passage is particularly significant: Christ died so that he might gather “the children of God” the elect, from the whole world.”

    Another very important insight is gained when we see the many uses of the word “world” found in John’s writing. There are at least ten different uses of the word found in John’s Gospel alone.

    In Hebrew culture, it is the father who chooses a bride for his son. In the same way, the bride of Christ was chosen by the Father, then given to the Son, and all in this number are without fail raised up to eternal life (John 6:37-39). The Son loses none of those given to Him by the Father.

    Finally, 1 John 2:2 tells us that Jesus is the propitiation for our sins as well as that of the whole world. If Jesus actually did propitiate (removed wrath by means of His sacrifice) everybody’s sins on planet earth, past, present and future, why would anyone ever be punished for their sins? That would mean double jeopardy with Jesus punished for the sin and then the sinner also bearing the punishment again in eternal judgment in hell. Such a thought is unthinkable.

    Instead, Jesus provided an actual rather than a merely hypothetical universal propitiation. He actually removed the wrath of God for His people throughout the whole world. In contrast, the wrath of God still remains (present tense) on the unbeliever. John makes it clear that, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (John 3:36)

    http://www.reformationtheology.com/2007/11/understanding_1_john_22.php

    Isaiah 53:6

    6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

    Not sure what this verse is suppose to prove? I think it is a great support for “Total Depravity” and that unless the shepherd comes and gets the sheep he will be lost. Feel free to add some commentary to this verse so I understand what you think it proves

    Matthew 26:13

    ” 13 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, that also which this woman hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.”

    So Calvinists do not think the gospel should be preached to the whole world? These type of things that come from those who hate Calvinism is why I say you either do not know what reformed theology is (which means you should not be writing articles blasting a system you do not even understand) or you are purposely misleading your readers. Who have been the greatest evangelists of our days Tony? George Whitfield, Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, and other Calvinists and I could go on. Show me where any mainstream Calvinists teach that we should not evangelize the whole world. JUST ONE!

    Matthew 28:18-20
    18 And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth.

    19 Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:

    20 teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”

    Again, how does this refute Calvinism???? Are you seriously saying Calvinists do not believe Christians should evangelize all nations?? You have a completely FALSE view of what reformed theology is and the texts you are posting to support your position demonstrates you do not understand what you are railing against.

    John 1:9
    ” There was the true light, even the light which lighteth every man, coming into the world.”

    Posting verses and not adding any type of context or commentary does not demonstrate your position. There is nothing to respond to in this verse because you have presuppositions you have read into this text without telling us what you think this verse is suppose to demonstrate.

    John 1:29

    29 On the morrow he seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world!”

    The word “world” in the book of John in Greek is used in like 7 different ways. If it is your view that this text is saying that Jesus death on the cross took away the sins of everyone in the world does that mean you believe all are in heaven? This seems to be the view you are advocating but if we take this view to its logical conclusion we end up in universalism and we know from scripture that not everyone goes to heaven. I would also ask if He took away the sins from everyone then why is anyone in hell?

    Again, rather than engaging in any discussion you just posted a bunch of verses that you think demonstrate your position and assume everyone reading it will have the same built in presuppositions as you do.

    John 3:16
    “16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

    The reformed community has answered this for hundreds of years Tony. The text does NOT say anything about *HOW* that person believes but rather says all that do will be saved. These scriptures have all been answered before numerous times at length (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFZjsfaO2kc)

    John 3:17-19

    “17 For God sent not the Son into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through him.

    18 He that believeth on him is not judged: he that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God.

    19 And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil.”

    Again, without any commentary there is nothing to respond to because I am not sure what it is you think this verse proves? Is it your view that Calvinists deny that those who believe will be saved? Again, these type of verses that you are posting demonstrate loud and clear you DO NOT understand what reformed theology teaches.

    Romans 10:13

    “13 for, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

    Calvinists do NOT deny that whoever believes will be saved. The debate is *HOW* one believes NOT as to whether if one believes can they be saved. ALL sides agree that whoever believes will be saved. I hope that you will take the time to really study this issue because you are missing the heart of the issue. You are posting things that ALL sides agree with and you have not dealt with the heart of the issue which is HOW one believes whether monergism or synergism.

    Acts 10:34

    “34 And Peter opened his mouth and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:”

    Calvinism more than any other theological system stresses man is wicked, evil and undeserving of salvation. We are told God predestines us based on HIS will, NOT because of something in the creature!

    (Ephesians 1:3-6 ESV)
    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.”

    The verse in Acts you posted is irrelevant to the debate on reformed theology. I hate to keep saying this and I am not trying to be rude. However by the verses you keep posting demonstrate you do not understand reformed theology and you end up making straw-man after straw-man and never get to the heart of the issue.

    Lets look at a couple of the verses you posted regarding free will. Before I do though I want to point out that you have AGAIN misrepresented the Calvinist view. You have committed the logical fallacy of “Equivocation” where you take the term “free-will” and pour your own meaning into the term. Anyone who is into theology/philosophy knows that there are NUMEROUS debates as to what “free-will” is. Some argue libertarian and others hold to compatabilism. However one thing that should be clear is that Calvinists do NOT deny man has free will. The reformed view is that mans will is free but his nature is fallen and thus he acts towards his greatest desire. Have you read Jonathan Edwards work on this issue? If so then you are purposely misrepresenting the reformed view. If not, then why in the world are you doing numerous posts blasting Calvinism and not being aware of even the basic arguments in the discussion and making straw-men and leading the readers astray.

    Deuteronomy 11:26-28

    26 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse:

    27 the blessing, if ye shall hearken unto the commandments of Jehovah your God, which I command you this day;

    28 and the curse, if ye shall not hearken unto the commandments of Jehovah your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.”

    You again just post verses with NO context or commentary from you on what you believe this verse proves. Who is these verses written to and what is the context? This comes back to free will. As said earlier the Calvinist believes man is free in regards to act according to his desires but we are told numerous places that the unregenerate man is a slave to sin (Romans 6). The verses you posted are not dealing with salvation at all and anyone who has a Bible can read the context and see for themselves.

    The rest of the verses fall into the same problem. You have done two things

    1) Assume Calvinists deny free-will

    2) Have poured your own meaning to what “free will” means and anyone who disagrees with you as to your definition then they are wrong and read Calvin instead of the Bible.

    I have written enough so I will end it here. I am thankful for your service to the Lord and you have done much good. You are a nice man and I know you love the Lord. However your continuous attacks on reformed theology which is insulting, mean-spirited and not even close to being accurate is a real concern for me. I have no problem with Arminians and go to a church where the pastor is an Arminian. I have no problem with people who have studied the issue out and have come to a different view then me. What I do not like is one who does not understand what reformed theology is and continuously makes angry mean spirited attacks on reformed theology, You are a guy I have known for a while and I do not write this to be mean spirited or nasty with you. I do admit this post made me angry with its snarky, arrogant tone and complete ignorance of the reformed view.

    I know this post will probably not last long on your website (As you have censored me before from your fb for challenging you) so I will be linking your article with my full response on my blog so others can see how to answer the numerous misrepresentations and straw-men leveled against reformed theology.

    http://h0lytrinity.blogspot.com/

    God Bless

    • November 30, 2012 at 6:24 pm

      Devin,
      I am happy to approve your comment. It is ridiculous and no one cares anyway. I always get the same thing from Calvinists… “Aw, you don’t understand the doctrines of grace.” The problem is, I absolutely do. Read Roger Olson, “Against Calvinism.” He doesn’t say anything more or less than I do on the subject except that he is adopts a more irenic approach. I am not nice toward Calvinism, at least no more nice than they are to those who disagree with them. I really don’t care if a person is a Calvinist (I serve along side many) as long as he or she is not a nasty or divisive one which I have almost never found. Devin, regrettably, you happen to be one of those. In fact, you tend to be nasty about a lot of things and even before you adopted Calvinism (which didn’t surprise me as it suits you) you were objectionable and argumentative. Churches are being split everywhere by this false and cult-like doctrine. There is not a doctrine in this world (Christian or otherwise) that I dislike more. I have met Jehovah’s Witnesses and Muslims that turned out to be kinder human beings. Read “Killing Calvinism,” written by a Calvinist, it should do you a lot of good.

      Best regards,
      Under no circumstance will you be hearing from me again.

      • November 30, 2012 at 6:50 pm

        By the way, Mormon’s, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists and Roman Catholics NEVER say, “You don’t understand what we believe!” Only the Calvinists make this claim. It is odd to me that I can be proficient at four theological systems but not five. A Calvinist is stuck with his or her philosophical conclusions concerning soteriology. They can not give an inch no matter how convincing the evidence. They are idolaters.


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